Usually when I hear “Danish Film,” I think of Dogma 95, the realistic manifesto signed by a group of visionary filmmakers to abide by a series of limitations on technique that both make the director’s hand in the film more obvious to viewers and also promote an aesthetic of realism.

If you want to look at one of these films for an example, I recommend Italian for Beginners.

A Royal Affair is another type of Danish film altogether, a historical story filled with beautiful production elements, a sizzling romance, and the fight for social justice.  How can I not be entranced?

The logline says it all: “A young queen, who is married to an insane king, falls secretly in love with her physician – and together they start a revolution that changes a nation forever.”  Wow!  And this is based on a true story, so viewers can even feel good about getting a history lesson at the cinema.  Think of A Royal Affair as a lot like Lincoln but set in Europe and including a lot more sex.

I realize that my tone has been a little flip so far, but I really do like this film, and find the performances, especially Alicia Vikander (loved her as Kitty in Anna Karenina) as the queen, Mads Mikkelsen as the doctor, and Mikkel Boe Folsgaard as the king, top-notch.

Maybe I’m working too hard to make it sound like fun so viewers who are normally put off by subtitles will take a risk.  The thing about subtitles, as I tell my students, is that you just have to practice.  Soon you almost forget they are there.



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